There are several memes that state an author’s browsing history should be ignored and/or immediately deleted. We can find ourselves researching the strangest subjects, all of which are perfectly innocence. (One would hope anyway!) I think the most alarming subject for anyone to find on my history would be wanting to know under what conditions a body can dry out and become mummified. Yep, I researched that! This relates to a novel yet to be finalized, The Giving Thief and I will not be giving any hints as to why.
When I wrote The Rython Kingdom and Rython Legacy, I required medical procedures and medicines from the English medieval period. There were several ‘cures’ I think would have given the poor patient an impossible decision whether to suffer the illness or the cure! Most of the ‘research’ for these novellas was personal experience of medieval castles during visits to such sites in England, and history lessons when I lived there.
Another backburner manuscript is Willow Tree Tears, which resulted in my gaining knowledge of barrel racing. I had never been to a rodeo at the time of initially writing the book, so did some internet research. However, I was fortunate to connect with a couple of barrel racing champions, who were very helpful in their advice. It has made the narrative a lot better.
The Twesome Loop is a reincarnation romance incorporating my interest in that specific subject. My interest began during my nursing days, when a couple of incidents led me down the path to find literature on the topic.
In Life in Slake Patch, I needed to find a natural element that could hinder pregnancy, either temporarily or permanently. Surprisingly, I found one,
When I was writing The Commodore’s Gift, I needed to immerse myself in the steampunk genre, and found a plethora of mechanical devices. I also needed to know the most crucial areas to incapacitate a person with a blade!
As author’s we can get immersed in the research, but it is also a great learning tool that we, in turn pass onto our readers. We need to be careful to know our subject because an expert will pick up on any irregularities or misinformation. As the saying goes, we learn something new every day.
What is the ‘strangest’ thing you have researched?
With a multiple of genres in my repertoire, I have utilized several book cover illustrators to achieve the best cover for each book. All of them have a unique style and process for creating the images. As an author the book cover is a vital tool to attract our readers. It needs to reflect in a quick and simple way the genre of the story and entice our readers to take a look.
Which cover(s) do you like?
Rumble’s First Scare
This cute little monster was the result of a mental image of mine. I asked Matthew McClatchie to bring him to life. This was achieved with my writing down a description of Rumble, as best I could and of the images for each page within the picture book. It took multiple emails back and forth until Rumble emerged. This is the excitement of working with a great illustrator, a mind meld as it were.
Ockleberries to the Rescue
I commissioned J.E. McKnight, a fellow author and artist to help me with this project as I required ‘real’ sketches of animals and Joe’s pencil and ink drawings were perfect for the chapter headers. We used nature photography for the majority of the images, as a basis for the images and a couple were a collaboration of my poor attempts at sketches and Joe’s interpretation of the subject.
Again, most of the images were in my mind’s eye but the protagonist was a ‘real’ girl, so I asked Linda J. Pedley of Wildhorse Creative Arts & Photography to help with the chapter header images. I described what each scene should incorporate and then Linda drew them in pencil and ink. Again, it is the worth of a great illustrator to draw what an author’s mind envisions.
Creature Hunt on Planet Toaria
I had such fun with this project as it was open to my imagination to create an alien world and who better to use than Matthew McClatchie’s unique technique? From my previous experience with Matty, I knew he would interpret my ‘mental images’ and badly constructed collages to make them come to life.
The Rython Kingdom
I found the illustrator for this novella via a Facebook friend. At the time, Winter Bayne utilized an online program for images and models. While working together we created the book cover from several different images I felt were important to the cover. Alas Winter no longer offers her services, so I am glad I got to work with her.
Unable to use Winter Bayne on this sequel, I was at a loss as who to turn to in order to achieve a similar cover. Luckily, through a Facebook contact I was able to connect with Wren Taylor Cover Design, who knew Winter. She utilizes the same sort of program and we collaborated well on the image to tie it to the first book with an orb shape.
The Twesome Loop
This image was again a collaboration with Winter Bayne, where I wanted several images merged. An olive tree, an old stone well and the lovers. She was able to find models dressed in period costume for the original couple in this reincarnation based romance.
Life in Slake Patch
I was vacationing in England when the original book cover was finalized for this novel, so emails were numerous. Linda J Pedley of Wildhorse Creative Arts & Photography managed to create a scene using multiple images I sent. Subsequently the cover was changed to the current one by Wren Taylor Cover Design to align with my other adult novel covers.
The Commodore’s Gift
Knowing the process and our mutual understanding I once again used Wren Taylor Cover Design to create the cover. It is the culmination of numerous images merged into my vision. There are many items within the cover that required closer inspection. Can you find them? A clockwork bird, a clock, a propulsion device, deep sea divers helmet/octopus, and a heart.
My current detective series has covers already designed by Wren Taylor Cover Design, but they will only be revealed once the trilogy is finalized and published. Yes, I know I’m teasing.
I’m so excited to share the new cover for my speculative fiction novel, Life in Slake Patch. Isn’t it beautiful? This is how I see Evan and Kate in the story. I love her expression of strength and determination. You can see how much Evan adores her by his gaze. Thanks to Wren Taylor Cover Design and my publisher, Dream Write Publishing for updating the front cover and revising the back cover too.
I was reminded of a book I read in school last week, as the star of the movie, Kes, a close adaptation of the book, turned 68 years old. In the movie he is a young boy! Yep, that was a shock!
I read the book in school and was devastated with how the boy and his pet were treated. It left an everlasting impression. Although, I knew the ending I did go and watch the movie when it came out. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0064541/
I asked several friends, which book had an impact on them and several books were named. Watership Down, The Diary of a Young Girl – Anne Frank, and Lord of the Flies. These narratives affected us emotionally and that is why they stay with us many years later. It is something every author hopes to do with their stories.
Do you have a book you read in school that had a profound effect on you?
I was humbled and delighted to receive a wonderful review of The Commodore’s Gift last week, so forgive me for indulging as I share it once more.
Review by thereadera
Sometimes you stumble across a book, and, for whatever reason, your expectations are low. Could be an amazing cover, could be a previous book by the same author you were wholly uninterested in, could be a billion different things that individually are insignificant, but cumulatively . . . You turn up you nose. O, gentle friends . . . Do not do unto yourselves the same disservice I almost did unto mine. The Commodore’s Gift by Mandy Eve-Barnett is . . . exquisite. I almost didn’t read it. Indeed, the release date sneaked up on me, tapped me on the shoulder, and waved hello on Monday afternoon, and I joked to friend that I should at least update my status on Goodreads and pretend to be reading it . . . Six hours later, it was ten pm, and I was 40% in. I could not put this one down and finished the entire book in less than two days. Many novels tend to be repetitive and get bogged down in over-explaining everything. This novel, however, was a breath of fresh air. The author of this book did an amazing job of making this book completely addictive. I was enthralled with the Character the entire time. So far, The Commodore’s Gift by Mandy Eve-Barnett has taken me by surprise and kept it interesting the whole way through, to where I desired more and he continued to deliver. The lands are amazing, the characters interesting. They play a great role in shaping the world. There are many positives, but overall I’d say this is a good book held higher than most because Mandy Eve-Barnett is actually a good writer. She is creative and descriptive, and tells a story clearly and with a layer of her own action woven in. But I don’t think it’s half as good as many here make it out to be. End of the day, it’s another tale we haven’t seen elsewhere many times before. Highly Recommended!
There are a number of ways that stories come to me, one is using writing prompts because they always spark ideas or images in my mind. Some result in a short story or, occasionally a poem, but others have become full blown novels.
I recently responded to the prompt below and the character emerged complete in my mind. I could see him walking along the sidewalk, and the effect he had on the people he passed. He may appear in a future novel – who knows. Some characters stay with me and after a time begin to demand attention. This one is mysterious and I am keen to know his backstory and his future plans.
Heads turned, chatter ceased and whispers began as the tall, dark clothed man strode along the high street. His focused gaze ahead, never glancing at the store fronts, or the recoiling of other pedestrians as he passed by. The summer atmosphere cooled as an ominous air pervaded his very being. The holiday town was used to many visitors but this one was different and dangerous.
Would you like to ‘meet’ this character?
One prompt that resulted in a published book was my novella, The Rython Kingdom, which was actually a series of prompts that combined into the basis of the story. The prompts were – blue beads, a beast and a medieval town. You can read the full story (and its sequel if you want) here:
Another inspiration are dreams. And the reason, I have a small notebook on my bedside table. If I don’t write it down immediately, the dream dissipates never to be remembered again. The opening sequence of The Commodore’s Gift was a snippet of a dream that just needed to be used in a story. At the time, I had no idea that Owena, would become such a integral part of the story and evolve into it’s central character.
Do you have questions about my writing inspiration? Please ask on the comments, I will be happy to answer them all.
In British history, we learn about Queen Boudicca, who ruled the Celtic clan, the Iceni tribe and united a number of other British tribes to revolt against the Roman occupying forces in 60 – 61 AD. She famously succeeded in defeating the Romans in three great battles but alas the war was won by the Romans. However, this does not deter from the fact that Queen Boudicca was a courageous queen, who fought for freedom from her oppressors.
Her rousing speech united the tribes and even today stirs the blood.
“We British are used to women commanders in war; I am descended from mighty men! But I am not fighting for my kingdom and wealth now. I am fighting as an ordinary person for my lost freedom, my bruised body, and my outraged daughters…. Consider how many of you are fighting — and why! Then you will win this battle, or perish. That is what I, a woman, plan to do!— let the men live in slavery if they will.”
Ancient Celtic women served as both warriors and rulers, and girls would be trained to fight with swords and other weapons, just like their male counterparts. As an adolescent, Boudicca would have been sent away to another aristocratic family to be trained in the history and customs of the tribe, as well as learning how to fight in battle. Celtic women were distinct in the ancient world for the liberty and rights they enjoyed and the position they held in society. Compared to their counterparts in Greek, Roman, and other ancient societies, they were allowed much more freedom of activity and protection under the law.
Owena Wintermute of The Commodore’s Gift
Owena has a unconventional upbringing within Victorian society. Motherless, she is brought up by her father and only sibling, an older brother, Benjamin. Feminine conventions are a mystery to both men and they welcome Owena’s tom-boy personality and actions. This leads to instruction in horseback riding astride the saddle instead of side-saddle and freedom to read whatever literature she wanted. Her attire is adapted to accommodate her other activities, such as instruction in swordplay, with the removal of corsets. Owena becomes proficient in this discipline. She also joined her brother as he played with toy soldiers and not only learnt battle formations and strategic planning but won against him.
Owena is certainly not a meek and mild woman but a warrior and worthy ally to the men of the rebel force. She joins them in their fight against the Buldrick Empire and ultimately gains their respect.